Tag Archives: Renée Elise Goldsberry

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (2022) Review

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She-Hulk Attorney at Law

Age Rating: 860940[1] 
Cast:
Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer Walters /She-Hulk
Jameela Jamil as Mary MacPherran/Titania
Ginger Gonzaga as Nikki Ramos
Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk
Josh Segarra as Augustus “Pug” Pugliese
Mark Linn-Baker as Morris Walters
Tess Malis Kincaid as Elaine Walters
Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky/Abomination
Benedict Wong as Wong
Renée Elise Goldsberry as Mallory Book
Jon Bass as Todd Phelps
Rhys Coiro as Donny Blaze
Griffin Matthews as Luke Jacobson
Patti Harrison as Lulu
Steve Coulter as Holden Holliway
Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock/Daredevil
Brandon Stanley as Eugene Patilio/Leap-Frog
Drew Matthews as Dennis Bukowski
Creator: Jessica Gao

Jennifer Walters has a complicated life as a single, 30-something attorney who also happens to be a green 6-foot-7-inch superpowered hulk.

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I heard about the upcoming show based on the Marvel character She-Hulk. I’m not too familiar with the character beyond the fact that she is a lawyer, Bruce Banner’s cousin, and also has Hulk abilities. Tatiana Maslany’s casting as the title character did have my interest despite having some doubts from seeing the trailers. Overall, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is a very mixed bag. There are some good performances, mainly with Maslany as the title character, and it has some good moments. However, it is let down by the messy and confused writing, and humour that mostly misses (especially with its meta-aspects).

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One thing I can praise She-Hulk for is the fact that it actually utilised its TV structure. With the exception of WandaVision, all the live action MCU shows feel like stories that could’ve served as individual films, but were instead stretched out into 6 episodes. Regardless of the quality, it is good that the show treats itself as an actual tv show. The writing is easily the worst part of the show and lets everything done. She Hulk aims to be a comedy first and foremost, so it’s a shame that the comedy itself is very hit or miss. I’ve seen worse comedy but there are so many painful moments where it doesn’t work at all. A notable element is that they have Jennifer/She Hulk talk directly to the audience and breaking the fourth wall as she makes comments about the situation and talks specifically to the audience. It is definitely going for 4th wall breaking similar to Fleabag, but doesn’t pull it off nearly as well. Even if you put aside the comedy, the rest of the writing isn’t good either. The plotlines are not interesting, even those that had some real potential such as Jennifer Walters becoming She-Hulk while in the shadow of her established cousin ultimately doesn’t amount to much. This show is 9 episodes long and while the length of each episode is between 30-40 minutes, it feels like a chore watching most of them. There is just no drive in the show, and you don’t feel like much has actually progressed. I find the low stakes approach refreshing compared to all the typical end of the world stakes stories, but even with the more personal approach, it is hard to care about what’s happening. While I do appreciate the tone being consistently comedic instead of jumping between comedy and drama, I couldn’t take most things that happened seriously. This show is also a painful case of being written by people who are chronically online (funny considering that it makes fun of chronically online people). Whether it be the dialogue, characters or the ‘satire’, it really takes you out of it. Obviously, there are people who already hate the show because they are sexist, and so the show predicted things correctly and pre-emptively makes fun of those people. There is a plotline that focusses on this, but it isn’t that great. If anything, it feels like it was ticking the box so that they can say that they acknowledged it. One of the more interesting aspects of the show going into it was the courtroom aspect considering that Jennifer is a lawyer, however that aspect disappointed. It ended up being laughable and more unintentionally funny than intentionally funny. Leading up to its release, the showrunner admitted that they couldn’t write procedural legal drama and just gave up, it certainly showed here.

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That’s not to say that the show is bad all the way through, there are some episodes that work better than others. Episode 8 includes Daredevil and was the highlight of the show. He was an enjoyable character to watch but he wasn’t the sole reason why the episode worked. After watching it, I was actually starting to feel good about the show. Then the finale happened, which really sticks out as having some of my biggest issues after watching. The specifics of the finale episode involve spoilers, so I’ll avoid going into too much depth. What I will say is that it gets further meta than it was before and effectively makes fun of the way that the show is ending and particularly the way most MCU stories end. The joke can be simplified to “this conclusion its building too is dumb isn’t it? Well that’s the joke, we wrote it to be dumb and we are in on the joke”. The truth is that if they did continue with their plotlines without the meta twist, it would’ve been an underwhelming finale. However, this feels felt like a cop out by making fun of a possible finale that they wrote themselves into in the first place. Despite the silliness of the show, ironically, I think that it was too serious for it to work. For as silly as these plotlines were, you nonetheless paid attention to them, but they don’t get any form of resolution. It attempts to ‘satirise’ the MCU and despite my criticisms with the franchise on the whole, I don’t endorse any of the Marvel products doing this. It would inevitably come across as hollow, it doesn’t help with how smug it felt. I heard some say that the last episode saved it for them, but it was what sank the show for me and made me feel like I wasted my time.

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Tatiana Maslany who plays the title character of Jennifer Walters/She Hulk and she’s probably the best part of the whole show. The writing for her character can be annoying, but Maslany is trying and she brought more to the role and show than they deserved. There are also some appearances from some familiar Marvel characters. Benedict Wong returns as fan favourite character Wong and is entertaining, even if the show manages to find a way to make him feel overused. Charlie Cox was also fun to watch, with him reprising his role of Matt Murdock/Daredevil. The tonal difference between his appearance here and the original Netflix show is stark, and some of his dialogue is a bit too cheesy. Nonetheless, I thought that he worked for this show. He shares such wonderful chemistry with Maslany that by the end I wanted a whole show focussing on the two. Tim Roth also returns as Emil Blonsky/Abomination who has clearly changed a lot since his villainous role in The Incredible Hulk nearly 15 years ago. To his credit, Roth is at least having a lot of fun with the part here and that went some way to make him enjoyable. However, it is very confusing what the writers were even doing with the character when you look at the way they end his story in episode 9. As expected, Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner/Hulk makes a few appearances in the show and ever since Thor: Ragnarok, the character has been getting worse and worse with every movie or show he stars in. She-Hulk is no exception, and while Ruffalo is a good actor, I was thankful whenever Hulk wasn’t on screen. Beyond them, the rest of the characters are average and it’s hard to like any of them. With the writing and dialogue, no one feels like or talks like a real person. The villains are also terrible, and while I get that you’re not supposed to find them to be a serious threat, they still could’ve been handled better.

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On a technical level, She Hulk isn’t impressive at all. Most scenes are shot and directed competently enough, but the visuals are very bland. That’s even before we get to the scenes involving CGI and this show really contains some of the worst visual effects in the MCU. As seen in the trailers, the effects on She Hulk looks bad, and even looks like its unfinished at points. That being said, I did get used to the CGI, either that or I had found more significant issues with the show.

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She Hulk: Attorney at Law joins Thor Love and Thunder as the worst entries in the MCU. The concept and character certainly had potential, but it didn’t really work on the whole. Tatiana Maslany’s performance elevated some of the writing, a few of the characters were fun, and the show had its moments. However, the subpar writing lets the entire show down, leading to a rather average if watchable viewing experience. If you are still really into the MCU then you might find some enjoyment here. However, if your interest in the franchise is waning by this point, I doubt it’ll bring your enthusiasm back.

Hamilton (2020) Review

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Hamilton

Time: 160 Minutes
Cast:
Daveed Diggs as Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson
Renée Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler
Jonathan Groff as King George III
Christopher Jackson as George Washington
Jasmine Cephas Jones as Peggy Schuyler and Maria Reynolds
Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton
Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr
Okieriete Onaodowan as Hercules Mulligan and James Madison
Anthony Ramos as John Laurens and Philip Hamilton
Phillipa Soo as Eliza Hamilton
Director: Thomas Kail

The original Broadway production of the award-winning musical that tells the story of Alexander Hamilton (Lin-Manuel Miranda), first secretary of the treasury, blending hip-hop, jazz, R&B and Broadway styles, filmed from the Richard Rogers Theater in New York.

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I heard about the acclaimed musical Hamilton for some time. Outside of one song however, I really didn’t know much about it, aside from it being about the founding fathers and Lin-Manuel Miranda being the person who created it. With one of the showings being put on Disney+ however, I knew I should probably watch it and see for myself if it worked for me. I’m glad to say that it very much did work for me, and I had a great time with it.

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Reviewing Hamilton is a bit weird, I’m essentially reviewing a musical, and it’s not even a film adaptation. However, I’ll try my best. I’m not an American History expert, according to some people the musical is accurate in terms of what happens, but I won’t judge it on that level. Though I think the casting and the fact that it is a Broadway musical should automatically give an indication that this probably shouldn’t be taken as being 100% accurate, and shouldn’t be the prime source of education about the founding fathers of America. It is 2 hours and 40 minutes long and it is a long running story, a lot of things happen over the course of the musical, it even has some actors playing more than one character. As overwhelming as it was going into it blind, especially as someone who didn’t really know what to expect, I was pretty invested throughout. It’s entertaining, it’s funny, and it becomes surprisingly emotional at points. By the end I was quite satisfied with what I had watched.

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The whole cast of actors do very well in their part in both acting and when it came to singing. The creator of the musical, Lin-Manuel Miranda plays the lead of Alexander Hamilton and does well on his part. I knew about Miranda from other things, with Mary Poppins Returns and His Dark Materials, but I think he did a good job here. I will say that his singing wasn’t the best, especially when compared to the others in the cast, but more than makes it up for his acting, especially in the latter half of the film. There were a few actors who really stood out, Daveed Diggs and Leslie Odom were particularly outstanding in their parts of Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. Jonathan Groff was only in a few scenes but was fantastic as King George III, a hilarious and entertaining performance that was very memorable in his onscreen moments.

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A big part of the movie is the music, and I thought it was really good. It is one of those musicals where every line is singing, but they pulled it off. A musical about the founding fathers doesn’t sound particularly like it’s prime music material. However the songs are pretty great (there are so many of them too), well written, and there was a lot of genres mixed in including rap, hip hop, jazz and Broadway, and it made the music and overall musical stand out and very entertaining. I’ve only watched the movie/musical once, but with every song on this from this first viewing, I found all of them to be very solid. Production values are top notch too, the choreography was great, and I can imagine it would’ve been a blast watching it in the theatre. In terms of the filming for the movie on Disney+, the direction from Thomas Kail was handled well, and really captured the show as best as possible.

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I really had no idea if I would like Hamilton going in, but I found it enjoyable, entertaining, and I was engaged from beginning to end. For those who haven’t seen it yet, I think it’s worth seeing it for yourselves, and by experiencing it first on the Disney+ version, you won’t have to pay money to buy tickets to watch it in person. I will say that I’m not sure how I’d feel about it on a rewatch, this is just from the one viewing and it was a lot to take in as it was. However, I think it’s really good and I’m glad I saw it.

Waves (2019) Review

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Waves

Time: 135 Minutes
Cast:
Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Tyler Williams
Lucas Hedges as Luke
Taylor Russell as Emily Williams
Alexa Demie as Alexis Lopez
Renée Elise Goldsberry as Catherine Williams
Sterling K. Brown as Ronald Williams
Director: Trey Edward Shults

Set against the vibrant landscape of South Florida, and featuring an astonishing ensemble of award-winning actors and breakouts alike. Waves traces the epic emotional journey of a suburban African-American family – led by a well-intentioned but domineering father – as they navigate love, forgiveness and coming together in the aftermath of a loss. From acclaimed director Trey Edward Shults, Waves is a heartrending story about the universal capacity for compassion and growth even in the darkest of times.

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I’ve been hearing a bunch of things about Waves for the past months. I recognised some of the actors like Sterling J. Brown and I recognise the director from his work on It Comes at Night, which I thought was pretty good. The reactions had been interesting, some have been highly praising it as one of the best of the year, others couldn’t stand it and downright hated it. I had no idea how I’d feel about it, but I was actually quite surprised by how much I loved Waves.

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Much of Waves is best seen not knowing too much going in, so I’ll refrain from spoilers as best as I can. Much of the talk surrounding this movie has been how it’s essentially split into two very different and distinct halves, and I’ve noticed a lot of people loving the first half and bored with the second, or hating the first half and starting to like the movie during the second. The first half has some of the most electric filmmaking I’ve seen in a while, and indeed the story in this part is pretty tense too, as things build up towards… something. The second half is a lot more quiet and calm in comparison. For me I personally loved both parts. While I was into the first half, the second half was essential for the movie sticking really the landing, and I never felt bored during that. I was locked into the story and characters throughout, and indeed it’s an emotionally powerful story, and is very affecting, with a number of heartbreaking scenes throughout. The only gripe I guess I might have is that the ending is a little abrupt, even just 30 seconds longer would’ve made it better.

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Waves has a great ensemble cast, and they all perform excellently, with the likes of Kelvin Harrison Jr., Taylor Russell, Sterling K. Brown, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Alexa Demie and Lucas Hedges. They all give some of the best performances of their careers, emotionally intense and powerful. Biggest surprise was from Taylor Russell, who really shines in the second half, and essentially carries that portion. Even if the rest of the movie won’t work for you, I think you’ll at least be impressed on an acting level.

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I was already impressed by Trey Edward Shults’s work on It Comes at Night, but I’m even more impressed with what he did with Waves. So much of this movie is sensory overload, mainly the first half, with the camera work, the music and sound, it’s can be really overwhelming. I get for some people it may be too much but I for one liked it for that. Waves is also a gorgeous looking movie from beginning to end, with a great colour palette that worked perfectly with the movie. There’s even some aspect ratio changes at points that oddly enough fitted the narrative. I don’t recognise really any of the songs used in the movie, and indeed I’m not part of the specific audience that the soundtrack is very much built towards, but there’s a great playlist here, and I thought it accompanied the plot appropriately. The score itself is also really good, I kept wondering why it sounded somewhat familiar and it turns out it was by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who of course composed music for The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl and more. Their work on Waves is amongst their best scores, and that’s saying a lot.

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Waves is definitely not going to work for everyone, for me though, I kind of loved it, an emotionally powerful gut punch that I’m still thinking about. It was written directed excellently, and the ensemble performances were outstanding. It surprisingly ended up one of my favourite movies of 2019. While I know that some people will hate the movie, I still do recommend seeing it for yourself, because there’s a lot of great things here.